I'm going to dispense with the actual build of this set quite rapidly today, because there's just too much else to discuss! Well, that and the fact that I didn't actually build it myself. My nephew decided this would be a valid way to spend a rainy afternoon on his first-ever European trip, and who am I to dispute that. For the record, he thought it was a great build, especially the Technic play functions, and we both agreed it looks more impressive 'in the brick' than on the box. The model is slightly modular too; you can rearrange the three sections, and there are five distinct areas to play in.
These kinds of 'scenery' sets aren't for me on the whole. I can see how they're valuable to kids, with the little compartmentalised areas in which to act out imagined stories. Which is great. I just don't think they look as nice as other models.
The other new element is less useful, but probably far more desirable to many of us because it makes a great minifig stand! Yes, those curvy things that the green soldiers from Toy Story stood on in a couple of 2010 sets has been released here in Trans-Clear [BL]/Transparent [TLG] (Element ID 6074416 | Design ID 17514). Any Trans-Clear part is a good part in my book, but this one is especially pretty and rather clever, as the curved edges do not prevent attachment underneath - it can be happily stuck on a large plate. Note the two studs on top are actually in unusual offset positions; not where you'd expect any studs on a 2X4 plate to be. They are recessed studs too, adding further functionality.
I'm pleased to see the 2X2 brick with vertical axle hole and grooves on each side is finally here in a new colour; Black (Element ID 6052796 | Design ID 90258). It first appeared in 2010 and until now has only been released in Dark Bluish Gray [BL]/Dark Stone Grey [TLG] and aside from the functional uses, is a useful part for creating textures. It's not exclusive though - six are in 10241 Maersk Line Triple-E.
There are some new moulds but these also appear in other 2014 sets, so I'll be brief: two Light Bluish Gray [BL]/Medium Stone Grey [TLG] ribbed flexible hoses (Element ID 6056596 | Design ID 14301) and four of the strange new A-frame plates (Element ID 6054852 | Design ID 15706) which are used here to set the sides of the portico at 45° angles. With A-frames positioned top and bottom, it makes for a really sturdy construction which I guess was the main idea behind introducing the A-frame.
His new headpiece is a flagrantly stupid helmet measuring about 6X3X3, decorated with a 1X1 round plate and two coffee cups. Yes, coffee cups. I love that; he put some random LEGO parts on his special hat. I wish more of the headpiece was made of regular parts though; that would be even funnier. Instead we get one of the least reusable accessories ever. In its defence it does have four points of connection (the studs for the round plate and coffee cups, plus of course the anti-stud to attach to the head) and the two coffee-cup studs are a standard six studs apart. But the shape is so utterly bizarre, using it in a model would be nothing other than a challenge. A challenge I shall therefore attempt, later in this post.
His super-evil legs are more interesting. As you can see they're largely brick-built with lots of nice trans-colours and Black slopes. Being so bulky, using a regular stud attachment between the legs and the bricks would result in instantaneous detachment during play, so instead we have a new part. It's a Frankenstein mashup of slopes, minifig legs and Erling bricks. Its separate sections all come pre-attached in the set, and are also listed in TLG's database as a single part (Element ID 6083001 | Design ID 18386). This means that they were not designed to be pulled apart and doing so will damage the sections, just like minifig torsos and arms. And so, just like minifig torsos and arms, we're all going to pull them apart, right? We're only human. Surely TLG foresaw that, and made them in such a way that they wouldn't snap the first time you detached them? *grits teeth* Yep, all seems fine; my one LEGO element is now three. The legs appear to be regular, and I guess moulding new legs would have been expensive and pointless. By the way, you also get regular legs for Lord Business in this set so that you don't need to pull these things apart unless, like me, you're curious. Now let's analyse these Black sections, from top to bottom.
Next we have a section the size of a 1X1 brick, but one side (the rear, when attached to legs) has a square hole like an Erling brick. I haven't figured out why. The hole on Emmet's "Piece of Resistance" has a clear use but I'm stumped why Lord Business needs to attach something there. My best guess is that it adds extra stability should you wish to sit Lord Business down; it aligns to the anti-studs at the rear of a fig's legs.
Now to the actual sloped part at the base, which is 1X2X2. Unlike most existing slopes, this one slopes on two edges, tapering from two-wide width at the bottom to a centered one-wide width at the top of the slope. The resulting angles are a teeny bit steeper than a regular 75° 1X2X3 slope. (75° is the BrickLink name; TLG classify those slopes as 73°. Note that TLG categorise this new leg part as having a 77° angle.) This new angle makes these new slopes much more interesting to me as a building element, however using them in a build will require either covering up the spikes or embracing them in the build. A challenge I shall therefore attempt, later in this post.
70816 Benny's Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP!) that it looks like it will come in Light Bluish Gray, my enthusiasm is revitalised.
The final "minifigure" is actually brick-built. Of course I am talking about Uni-Kitty, who comes in set 70803 Cloud Cuckoo Palace but here appears in the form of Biznis Kitty; I assume this is a disguise for her but perhaps this is another of her freakish mutant species. In any event, she's the same except for scribbles on her face and body - which render those parts quite useless for re-purposing. But she sure looks hilarious and it doesn't dampen my overall enthusiasm for her, because a) she's cute and b) constructed almost entirely from new or rare elements.
70814 Emmet's Constructo-Mech, revealed this week at the Nürnberg Toy Fair. because there's a rather evil-looking version of Uni-Kitty included. Hooray for Uni-Kitty, saving the Apollo stud!
Back to the present version. Her ears are cheese slopes, brand new in Dark Pink [BL]/Bright Purple [TLG] (Element ID 6057894 | Design ID 50746), and I note that TLG list these as being made of polycarbonate rather than ABS plastic. Her neck is a 1X1 round plate in Yellowish Green [BL]/Spring Yellowish Green [TLG] (Element ID 6057898 | Design ID 6141); this is a very new colour first used in DUPLO® in 2012 and then as minifig arms in last summer's Lord of the Rings 79008 Pirate Ship Ambush. I'm sure this new shade of round plate will be very welcome in everyone's LEGO gardens, despite being (to my eyes) a rather unnatural colour. Both of her feet are new colours for the humble 1X1 plate; Light Aqua [BL]/Aqua [TLG] (Element ID 6058016 | Design ID 3024) and Bright Light Yellow [BL]/Cool Yellow [TLG] (Element ID 6058014 | Design ID 3024). A great aspect to all these small parts I'm mentioning is that you get a spare of each. Lastly, we have an actual new mould; the tail (Element ID 6055598 | Design ID 15856). This is causing differing emotions for me. It's a pretty shape and I want to try building with several of them; perhaps a decorative wall feature for a '70s house - or something more exotic. But it just feels so 'un-LEGO' and part of me wishes they'd gone for a more traditional parts solution for her tail. It does add enormously to Uni-Kitty's character though and after all, it seems every major character in The LEGO Movie has received its own signature new part!
Bigging up how I was going to build using the most challenging accessories in this set was a poor idea, as the results of an hour's fiddling are frankly underwhelming. But I enjoyed myself.
I used all four points of connection on Lord Business' helmet but of course it's still a delicate arrangement. Emmet's brick actually came into functional use.
The wings were just some fun using the four A-frames.
My thanks to LEGO's Community and Events Engagement Team for providing this set.
70809 Lord Business' Lair retails at US$69.99/GB£59.99.
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Lord Business' Evil Lair
LEGO The LEGO Movie 70809: Lord Business' Evil Lair